Misogyny in South Korea

An exit of Seoul’s Gangnam station is turned into a shrine for a 23-year-old woman who was stabbed to death by a stranger in a nearby public bathroom (AFP Photo/Jung Yeon-Je)

I first became interested in this topic when I realized how women and minorities in Asian countries are getting discriminated against in daily life. Women are still treated unfairly in most of the Asian countries due to the conservative traditions and minds and they system needs to start being changed.

According to Se-Woong Koo’s article in The New York Times, “There was a shocking incident that happened in South Korea in May 2016. A young woman had been stabbed to death in a bar restroom in a busy shopping district in Seoul. After the arrest, the murderer told the police that he committed the crime because women had always ignored him.” This was a hate crime towards women and crimes like this happens daily in Korea. This incident made me realize how dangerous and serious misogyny is. Women not only get judged and get less credit for their work, but also they have to live in fear of hate crimes including violent and sexual crimes. Hate crimes and misogyny in Korea are something that happens almost everyday and misogyny is directly connected with discriminations towards other minorities such as different races and sexualities. In order to get rid of the discrimination in our culture, we need to start with something that’s most common. Understanding and having a knowledge about background of misogyny in Korean/Asian culture can make me a prepared individual. Through this project, I am looking forward to learn where misogyny is originated in Korea/Asia, What women are going through daily in their life among the stereotypes and standards that society created. I would also love to learn what other genders are thinking about misogyny and elder’s perspective on it also. I think it’s important to know how the view of misogyny changed through out the different generations and how to fix it. I have questions about misconceptions and false about misogyny that people have generally. I am concerned about how to make the topic more controversial and make my point stronger to prove it. I get uncomfortable and upset when I think about how unfair the society is and people are so used to it. People who are interested in social justice and equality might be interested in this topic because they are all related. My topic is about something that’s going on currently and got more attention recently due to the incident that happened last year. Also The New York Times article called ‘South Korea’s Misogyny’ by Se-Woong Koo explains other misogyny and hate crimes that’s going on in Korea. When the author address reality of women’s position in South Korea, he says “It’s no wonder then that the World Economic Forum ranks the country 115th out of 145 countries in gender equality. Women earn only two-thirds of what men earn, according to the Ministry of Employment and Labor. Women made up 2.3 percent of corporate executives at 348 of the largest 500 companies in South Korea in 2015”. Also in different article in The New York Times called ‘South Korea’s Plan to Rank Towns by Fertility Rate Backfires’ by Sang-Hun Choe, it explains about Women’s hardships for getting and maintaining a job and how they are treated/considered. The articles says ‘Many women still feel pressure to quit their jobs once they become pregnant. For many women working in the private sector, especially those employed at smaller businesses, an extended parental leave with the option of returning to work remains a dream (by law, one can take up to a year off). Even if a woman returns to work, finding affordable day care centers can be difficult, although the government is racing to add more of them.’. As a immigrant from South Korea, I have been exposed to the conservative culture and witnessed numerous incidents like this, so I can easily relate and understand that problem. And also I speak Korean fluently, so I can find credible sources easily that’s written in Korean.

Even though there are inequality and unfair stereotypes for female in South Korean society, numerous people deny to believe that misogyny exists in South Korea. I hope this project will persuade the audiences to believe that misogyny exist and disadvantage female. Also I hope I can come up with a solution that can reduce the conflicts between men and women and changes the unfair society system.


Work Cited

Koo, Se-Woong. “South Korea’s Misogyny.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 June 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

Sang-Hun, Choe. “South Korea’s Plan to Rank Towns by Fertility Rate Backfires.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 30 Dec. 2016. Web. 28 Feb. 2017.

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